Archaeological dig to begin at Pa.-NJ bridge

Yardley, Pennsylvania (AP) April 2011

Archaeologists will begin excavation work next week on a dig for Native American artifacts on the Pennsylvania side of a bridge carrying Interstate 95 between Bucks County, Pa., and Mercer County, N.J.

The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission said that the archaeological team will seek to recover and catalog Native American artifacts, some of which could date back to 8,000 B.C. to 10,000 B.C. The dig is taking place on a site where a new bridge will be replacing the Scudder Falls Bridge as part of a $322 million project.

“There is a remote possibility of recovering and permanently preserving Native American artifacts that could date back to the time when Native Americans first paddled the waters of the Delaware River,” said Frank G. McCartney, the commission’s executive director.

The excavation work will extend as much as 14 feet deep, and any artifacts recovered will be taken to a laboratory where they will be cleaned and cataloged before being stored with the State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg, the commission said in a statement.

A previous dig in Ewing, N.J., turned up evidence that the site may have been occupied as long ago as 2,000 B.C., the commission said. Artifacts from that dig are being provided to the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton.

The commission said the two excavations are part of $1.1 million in archaeological activities it is funding at the request of the New Jersey State Historic Preservation Office and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.